Phil McClean

Ph.D. Colorado State University, 1982
Department of Plant Sciences
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND 58105

Unlike many people, where I was born has nothing to do with where I am from.  My dad was in the newly formed United States Air Force, and he and my mother went to visit my grandparents in Pierce, NE for Thanksgiving.  I was born three weeks early, the day after Thanksgiving on my grandmother's kitchen table.  That was the start of my travels.  I graduated from a Department of Defense high school in Kaiserslautern, Germany --- the last of my 13 schools before college.

My parents instilled in me an independence of thought and action.  I was free to persue whatever interested me.  Because of that freedom, I have several varied interests.  Among them are listening to music (especially live music), playing guitar, playing tennis, skiing, reading (mystery authors such as James Ellroy and James Lee Burke and most recently 19th Centrury English and Russian novels) and outdoor activities like hiking, camping and canoeing  Here are some links to sites that relate to these interests:





Genetics is my teaching and research specialty.  My two teaching responsibilities are Intermediate Genetics and Plant Molecular Genetics.  Follow the links to see my WWW versions of my courses.  I put a lot of time into developing the electronic version of my courses, the students have been very positive about my efforts, but I am still cautious about how much student learning will be improved by the technology.  I am dedicated, though, to developing high content/high interactivity course material and trying to assess its impact on how and to what extent students learn.

My area of research is plant molecular genetics.  My graduate training was in plant breeding and physiology of dry beans, and my postdoctoral experience dealt with the molecular analysis of tomato and corn.  I have often said I could open a Mexican restaurant (the bean, tomato and corn thing) if all else failed, but I think its safe to say I am beyond that worry.  I currently study the genetics of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) using molecular genetics techniques.  I am interested specifically in fine-structure mapping disease resistance genes and the genes that control the many seed coat colors and patterns you see in common bean.  I have been lucky to receive USDA funding for the disease work and do the molecular genetics of the color and pattern genes on a shoestring.